Jan 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide mascot Big Al before the 2012 BCS National Championship game against the LSU Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

SEC Football: Week 11 Contenders & Pretenders

Texas A&M’s defeat of the Alabama Crimson Tide leaves the SEC on the outside looking in for the BCS title, but other undefeated teams still have a few tests of their own. The Vanderbilt Commodores get a major tip of the cap from C&P for earning bowl eligibility over the weekend by beating Ole Miss.

1. Texas A&M (Last week: 3) To be king of the mountain, you have to push the king off the top. A&M did just that when they knocked off Alabama in Tuscaloosa 29-24. Two earlier season losses will block the Aggies from making the SEC title game, but the season has been nothing but success for the new kids on the SEC block. A&M gets to pound lowly Sam Houston State this week before finishing up against Missouri. Next game: Sam Houston State

2. Alabama (Last week: 1) Alabama spotted Texas A&M 20 points in the first quarter and could not recover. The loss puts the Tide on the outside of the BCS Championship race, but they are considered the best one-loss team by the balance of the country. Alabama hosts Western Carolina, one of the first teams in college athletics, this week. Expect the benches to clear pretty fast in this one. Next game: Western Carolina

3. LSU (Last week: 2) The Tigers rebounded after losing to Alabama by thrashing Mississippi State 37-17 in Tiger Stadium. Zach Mettenberger had another good statistical day in the win. Ole Miss comes to town this upcoming week. If LSU closes the regular season at 10-2, they are squarely in the hunt for an at-large BCS bid, or one of the SEC’s premier bowl tie-ins. Next game: Ole Miss

4. Georgia (Last week: 4) Georgia’s 38-0 win over Auburn was impressive, but there are high school teams that would give Auburn a run for their money this season. Georgia has clinched the SEC East and will most likely meet Alabama in Atlanta. Georgia Southern comes to Athens for a friendly cupcake game this weekend. Next game: Georgia Southern

5. South Carolina (Last week: 6) South Carolina beat Arkansas 38-20 and finishes their SEC schedule at 6-2. The Gamecocks have Wofford this weekend before the annual rivalry with Clemson. Next game: Wofford

6. Florida (Last week: 5) Florida needed a late blocked punt to escape a Louisiana-Lafayette upset bid. The 27-20 victory was one of the more anemic performances by an SEC power against a non-conference foe in the recent memory. Since losing to Georgia, Florida has been in sleepwalk mode. Jacksonville State comes to town this week. Don’t count on the Gators waking up, particularly while Jeff Driskel is questionable. Next game: Jacksonville State.

7. Missouri (Last week: 10) Missouri has a healthy James Franklin and suddenly the Tigers have a bit of a roar. They got by Tennessee in quadruple overtime 51-48. Mizzou needs to beat either Syracuse or Texas A&M to earn a bowl bid. If Franklin stays healthy, they have a legitimate shot. Next game: Syracuse

8. Vanderbilt (Last week: 11) Bunch of big jumps around the middle of the SEC this week. Vanderbilt earns a jump with a 27-26 win over Ole Miss in Oxford. The win secured a bowl for the Commodores. They have two eminently winnable games left, and that starts with hosting Tennessee this weekend. Next game: Tennessee

9. Mississippi State (Last week: 8) The slide continues. After beating a bunch of patsies, State ran into the meat of its schedule … and got ground to dust. LSU blasted Mississippi State 37-17. Three straight losses by over 20 points have cratered the Bulldogs season. State made it through the worst of it, and gets Arkansas at home next. Next game: Arkansas

10. Ole Miss (Last week: 7) Losing to Vanderbilt at home is never excusable. Yes, Vanderbilt is better under Franklin. Ole Miss still needs a win against LSU or Mississippi State to qualify for a bowl. Given the gut-wrenching loss to Vandy, it seems like a very long shot in year one for Hugh Freeze. Next game: @LSU

11. Tennessee (Last week: 9) Missouri is a surging team, but a quadruple overtime loss at home? The only way to set the program further back involves incendiary devices, and Force powers. Derek Dooley is done at UT. As Rick Bragg would say, it’s all over but the shoutin’. The Vols do have a season to finish, and they go to play Vanderbilt this week. Next game: @Vanderbilt

12. Arkansas (Last week: 12) Arkansas lost 38-20 to South Carolina. The John L Smith interim “experiment” will mercifully be over in a couple of weeks. The Hawgs travel to Starkville to play Mississippi State this week. Next game: @Mississippi State

13. Auburn (Last week: 13) Auburn got shellacked 38-0 by Georgia. The season is a disaster. At least the Tigers will win a third game this week as Alabama A&M comes to town. Next game: Alabama A&M

14. Kentucky (Last week: 14) Ok, crow pie time for C&P. Through misreading schedules, C&P thought that Kentucky played Samford last week. In fact, Kentucky had a bye week last week. They play Samford this week. Next game: Samford

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